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Barton College Presents “Sam Ragan, Inside the Poetry”

2017 New Works Festival

Sam Ragan, often called North Carolina’s “literary grandfather,” was an NC poet laureate; helped establish the NC School of the Arts and the NC Literary Hall of Fame, among many other literary programs and institutions; and was twice-nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

This weekend, Barton College will present “Sam Ragan, Inside the Poetry” as part of their spring New Works Festival. The show plays Saturday, February 25, and Sunday, February 26, at 2:00 pm.

The work is arranged and performed by his daughter, actress Talmadge Ragan, along with other artists, including Stephen Smith and NC poet laureate and 2014 NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Shelby Stephenson. The piece is co-produced by Barton’s English program in the School of Humanities.

The festival performances will be free of charge; however, monetary donations will be accepted to support theatre programming.

Sam Ragan was North Carolina’s first secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources and first chairman of the North Carolina Arts Council. He published six collections of verse and four works of nonfiction. When Governor Jim Hunt appointed Sam Ragan North Carolina Poet Laureate in 1982, Ragan responded, “I don’t know that I’ll write poetry on demand, but I would like to encourage North Carolinians to read and write poetry. I’ll be happy to do that.”

The Kennedy Family Theatre at Barton College seeks to be “an incubator of creativity.” Each performance will be followed by a “talk-back” session, in which the audience will be encouraged to share in the development and discuss the material with the writers and actors.

For more information, click here.

Special B&N Bookfair Supports Charlotte Writers’ Club

From our friends at the Charlotte Writers’ Club:

CHARLOTTE—Support the Charlotte Writers’ Club at Barnes & Noble in Charlotte and Pineville. The Charlotte Writers’ Club is working together with Barnes & Noble by hosting a Bookfair at the Carolina Place, Morrison Place, and Arboretum stores.

On Saturday, February 25, from 1:00-4:00 pm, Barnes & Noble will contribute a percentage of every sale made with a special Bookfair voucher to the Charlotte Writers’ Club. Vouchers will be available online at the Charlotte Writers’ Club’s website and at the stores during the event.

You can also shop in support of the Charlotte Writers’ Club by shopping online at from February 25 to March 2, and include the Bookfair voucher ID #12077293 on the payment page during checkout.

Charlotte Writers’ Club’s events and programs will be held at Barnes & Noble at Carolina Place, Morrison Place, and Arboretum on Saturday, February 25, at 1:00 pm. These events include readings and signings by a number of local authors at each location.

For more information, contact Roxie Risky, Community Business Development Manager, Barnes and Noble,, 704-544-9985.

General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc., can be obtained via the Internet by visiting the company’s corporate website:

Follow Barnes & Noble on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

Membership Expiration: Now Visible

We know your membership in the North Carolina Writers’ Network is important to you. As a member, you enjoy many perks and benefits, including discounts on conference registrations and competition entries; access to our critiquing and editing services; and access to our audio/visual resources.

Because your membership is important, we want to do all we can to help you remember to renew. To that end, now when you log-in to, you’ll see on the right-hand vertical sidebar the following message:

Hi [your name} (member until [membership expiration date])

If you notice the date is coming up, you can always renew early in order to avoid missing out on all the great benefits.

You can renew your membership at any time, here.

Thank you for your support of the North Carolina Writers’ Network.

Born from Chaos, Broad River Review Shines Bright

In 1968, America was in the rocky middle: of Vietnam, of the Cold War, of shootouts between Black Panthers and police, and student protests on campuses all across the country. From this chaos was born a literary magazine, the Broad River Review, the official rag of Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, a town that is situated geographically in the middle of the Carolinas.

For nearly fifty years, the Broad River Review has published the best writing from undergraduates and faculty, and more recently, writers from across the state and around the nation. A quick glance at the contributors to Volume 48 (2016) turns up many names that would be familiar to fans of North Carolina writing: Heather Bell Adams, Gregg Cusick, Janet Joyner, Alice Osborn, Jo Barbara Taylor, Lisa Zerkle, and many more.

Broad River Review takes submissions from mid-August to mid-November in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Poetry submissions are restricted to five poems, with no more ten pages total per submission. Fiction and nonfiction submissions must be no more than 5,000 words. Of course, they do not take previously published work.

During this window, they accept general submissions as well as entries to their annual Rash Awards in fiction and poetry. These awards are named for Gardner-Webb University graduate and New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash. For a list of 2016 winners, click here.

Subscriptions are $12 for one year, $22 for two years, or $30 for three years (best deal!).

Learn more at their website, on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.

NCWN at AWP 2017

Terry L. Kennedy speaks at AWP

We’re back from AWP17—the annual meeting of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs—where we spent the weekend supporting North Carolina-based literary organizations; making new friends; and letting ourselves be inspired by the herculean efforts of countless publishers and writers making their individualized contributions to the literary arts.

We celebrated anniversaries, including fifty years of The Greensboro Review, where NCWN board member, poet, and UNCG professor Terry L. Kennedy spoke (see right) amid readings by Jim Clark, Michael Parker, and more. Durham-based Bull City Press rang in ten fruitful years with a series of readings on Friday, and TriQuarterly Review hosted a classy event in an art gallery to celebrate their 150th issue.

We celebrated diversity. This included an appreciation of and readings by members of the Carolina African American Writers Collective (CAAWK) where we were treated to haikus from Dr. Lenard D. Moore (winner of the North Carolina Award); as well as poems read by L. Teresa Church, Cedric Tillman, and others. Minerva Rising Literary Press, based partly in North Carolina (and a presence at recent NCWN conferences), is a press run by and for women; they celebrated their five-year anniversary with a raucous, SRO offsite event on Friday night that included contributor readings and a chance for attendees to write encouraging notes to disadvantaged women, which founding editor Kim Brown collected to pass along to their charitable partners.

For me, the conference ended on the highest possible note, when I attended a tribute to Edmund White, one of my favorite writers. A panel of his friends and colleagues saluted the esteemed author with personal anecdotes and favorite passages, and White himself spoke briefly at the end. For most in attendance, White’s books were a light in the darkness, a voice that, as one panelist phrased it, took their thoughts and fears about their orientation and put them on the page, and in doing so gave them courage to become the people they needed to become. Seeing City Boy on another man’s shelf, for example, let them know, by a kind of code, that they were not alone. For me, reading White’s  The Beautiful Room Is Empty at age seventeen (I had to get a permission slip from my parents to check it out of the public library), created a deep and lasting empathy that not only profoundly altered my worldview for the better but has without question opened me up to more rich and fulfilling experiences and friendships over the course of my life.

But that’s the power of books: the good ones show you something new, prepare you to receive whatever wisdom or experience they have to share, and change you forever.

Courtesy of Crystal Simone Smith

We also learned a whole lot. We pride ourselves in creating a supportive and far-reaching writing community through the North Carolina Writers’ Network, but there’s a whole lot more we want to do. We’ve got our online classes up and running (the next one is Thursday at 7:00 pm!), and part of our time at AWP was spent learning how to deliver those more effectively. We also found brothers and sisters in arms, other state and city-wide literary organizations, like ours, who face the same challenges and who are, like us, excited for the future. By sharing resources, we hope to continue to improve our programming so that you, our members, will benefit—so that all of us will be helped along as we strive toward literary excellence.

And yeah, maybe we did sneak away on Thursday night to watch the UNC-Duke basketball game with our friends from Backbone Press, Carolina Wren Press, Exit 7 out of Paducah, KY, and a roomful of people we didn’t know but from the fact they were clad head-to-toe in Tar Heel blue. But we knew them well enough by the end of the game: they were writers like us.

Looking for a Writing Retreat?

Women write around the world

The theme song for Cheers asked a question familiar to most writers: “…Wouldn’t you like to get away?”

If you’re looking for a writing retreat this year, or a workshop in a different locale, with different instructors, the idea being that a change might do you good, check out the website Creative Writing Retreats.

Write a Book Retreats allow writers to treat their “inner author to glorious, dedicated writing time.” Participants will hone their writing skills, learn how to maximize their creative output, how to land an agent, and, perhaps most importantly, relax and recharge with “expert guidance in a gorgeous location.” 2017 locations include San Francisco, CA, and Crete, Greece.

The site also offers Literary Vacations to London, Paris, and Dubrovnik, Croatia. These writing adventures offer “creativity sprints,” immersion in work by local authors, and a geographic background steeped in literary excellence and tradition.

The site is offering $50 off registration if you sign up for their e-newsletter.

Registrants can also use the discount code WRITERSREADERS to get 10 percent off registration.

This same code can be used for a 10 percent discount at Learn How to Write a Book, where Jessica Lourey, MA, MS, creative writing professor, recipient of The Loft Literary Center’s Excellence in Teaching fellowship, and author of fifteen books, will guide participants toward writing that novel they’re meant to write.

For more information, visit and

The Artistic Expression of Science

eno magazine is printed on recycled paper with soy ink. What else did you expect from a journal that seeks to encourage, promote, and publish “artistic forms of expression that inspire a deeper understanding of and creative engagement with the environment”?

Founded by a Nicholas School graduate and run by students in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, in Durham, eno aspires to be the nation’s “premier magazine on art and the environment.” They’ve just released issue five, and it’s gorgeous: full-page color photos enhance poetry and essays, all with the aim of supporting and cultivating artistic expression within the Nicholas School, at Duke University, in Durham, and beyond.

They accept unsolicited submissions of any length: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, photography, and other artistic mediums. Submissions from outside Duke University are welcome and may be included in a special section of the magazine. Fair warning: the magazine publishes only a few pieces of prose in each issue, so it looks like—especially for fiction writers—that this might be a tough market to crack. All submissions should “engage with environmental topics,” even if only subtly.

Submit here.

The magazine is free and all of its archives may be viewed online.

Duke’s Nicholas School strives for:

a new paradigm, one that views and attempts to understand the earth and the environment including humans as an integrated whole. And one that advances a more sustainable future by strategically focusing its resources on addressing the major environmental issues of our times and by training a new and environmentally-informed generation of global leaders.

This is the mantle that eno has taken up, offering itself as an outlet for the artistic expression of science.

Learn more on the web at or on Facebook or Twitter.

Our Statement of Belief

We thought the time was right to share again our organization’s statement of belief.

“We believe that writing is necessary both for self-expression and community spirit, that well-written words can connect people across time and distance, and that the deeply satisfying experiences of writing and reading should be available to everyone.

And we do mean everyone.

The Board and staff of the North Carolina Writers’ Network

The Southern Book Prize Creates the Conroy Legacy Award

From our friends at SIBA:

COLUMBIA, SC—The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) announces the creation of a “Lifetime Achievement” category for their annual book award program, The Southern Book Prize (formerly known as The SIBA Book Award). The new category, the Conroy Legacy Award, honors the example of beloved author Pat Conroy and recognizes writers who have achieved a lasting impact on their literary community. Recipients will have shown the following attributes:

  • Support for independent bookstores, both in their own communities and in general.
  • Writing that focuses significantly on their own home place.
  • Demonstrates support of other writers, especially new and emerging authors.

The Conroy Legacy Award is given to one writer in SIBA territory per year. A juried panel of SIBA member booksellers representing all of SIBA’s states will choose among nominated writers to determine the year’s winner.

Although it is not necessary for a nominated writer to have a new book out in the award year, nominated writers must be living, and must have books in print. Nominations must come from SIBA member bookstores. The Legacy Award provides an opportunity for its member stores to recognize writers who have been important in their community.

Both a donation to the Pat Conroy Literary Center and a donation to a literary entity close to the heart of the writer will be made in the name of the Legacy Award recipient.

In 2016, SIBA rechristened its annual SIBA Book Award as The Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize to honor Conroy and his profound impact on Southern literary life. Although it was intended as a one-time event, the booksellers immediately responded with names of writers they felt deserved that recognition. The Conroy Legacy Award was created to celebrate the deep connections between independent bookstores and the writers in their communities.

“The Conroy Legacy Award,” says SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell, “is our way of honoring the strong connection and partnership between writers and independent booksellers. We are all deeply involved in the literary life, in the life of the book, and in telling the story of our home place.”

Asheville Poetry Review: A Legacy of Diversity and Quality

The maiden publication of Asheville Poetry Review, published in 1994, featured twenty-two poets from Western North Carolina, including  Thomas Rain Crowe, Ann Dunn, and Keith Flynn, founder and current managing editor.

Since then, the rag has grown to publish over 600 writers from fourteen different countries. Published annually, the journal offers 180–220 pages of poems, interviews, translations, essays, historical perspectives, and book reviews.

To subscribe, click here. To check out back issues, click here.

Recent contributors have included Sherman Alexie; Robert Bly; and North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee and former NC poet laureate Fred Chappell (who, coincidentally, will be giving the Keynote Address at the NCWN 2017 Spring Conference on April 22 at UNCG—save the date!).

Other Carolina contributors include former NC poet laureate Joseph Bathanti; NCWN regional rep for Clay County Janice Moore Fuller; and NCWN regional rep for the Central Foothills, Scott Owens, among many others.

Asheville Poetry Review accepts regular submissions January 15 through July 15 annually, so they’re currently reading. For guidelines, click here.

Winners of the annual 2016 William Matthews Poetry Prize have just been announcedMarilee Richards, from Sedona, AZ, was awarded first prize for her poem, “The Double Zero.” She won $1,000, plus publication in Asheville Poetry Review (Vol. 23, Issue 26, 2016), out now. NCWN rep for Jackson and Macon Counties, Catherine Carter, from Cullowhee, was the third-prize recipient for her poem “First Witch.” Her poem also appears in the current issue.

The website has extensive samples of the kind of poetry they publish, from contributors over the past twenty-three years. Asheville Poetry Review also maintains a presence in the community of Western North Carolina.

“The two most remarkable things about the Asheville Poetry Review have been its diversity and quality,” said Rob Neufeld, who wrote the introduction for the inaugural issue lo those many years ago. “Yes, Asheville, you’ve got a poetry journal of special note here.”

Visit Asheville Poetry Review on the web at They’re also on Facebook.